This Valentine's Day many youngsters proudly wear the tag 'single and definitely not ready to mingle'

Friday, 14 February 2014 - 2:04pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna Shadow Editorial Board

For some 14th of February is just another day and here's why. Lakshmi Pillai reports
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There's nothing romantic about Valentine's day, at least for a few youngsters who proudly wear the tag of 'single and definitely not ready to mingle'. This brings to mind Mandy Hale's (Author of The Single Woman: Love Life and a Dash of Sass) comment on singularity: “You don't need a significant other to lead a significant life.” Today in the hectic world of academia, many youngsters believe that being single is more beneficial than being committed. The catch is that many view such a status as worthy of being a lifelong one; the old notion that once in the late 20s, marriage or an affair is ideal, doesn't seem to be as popular as it perhaps once was.

The major factor is commitment issues: its not phobia per se, but disinterest. Tarun Menon, 19, views being “committed” as satisfying the whims and fancies of another person apart from himself, and prioritising a 'nagging' extra, apart from his parents is a 'pain'. Priorities change greatly for a committed person and the first dilemma is choosing between friends and family and your partner. While competition has increased manifold, youngsters have realised the importance of prioritising their career over any other matter. Consequently, the demands and pressures that follow, leave little time for the self. Which is exactly why Namrata Kamath, 21, prefers to stay single; “me time” is precious. The focus is the individual and when career and employment pressures only increase with every accomplishment, “me” time is needed for spiritual growth.

It would be erroneous to presume that youngsters don't get attracted to another but they feel that there are several matters more important than whether someone “reciprocates your crushing.” This is because being single is advantageous and allows one to explore greater horizons and opportunities. Additionally, being single is not synonymous with being lonely. In fact it is quite the reverse. Dr. Vrinda Kamat, practising counsellor, reveals that many of her clients complain that being in a relationship restricts their freedom. “Freedom is the main issue, and as I see it, many regret compromising their freedom to be in a relationship.” You have to think for not just yourself but for your partner as well. So restriction of freedom also implies an attack on individuality; you become somebody else's person and less your own. So being single is really a matter of making a suitable choice. There are some who believe that you can never know unless you try, but there are also those who'd rather spend their time in recreational activities. At the end of the day, you have one less person to depend on; you are the sole person responsible for your happiness.

The question is, is it a healthy trend? While live-in relations have become a feasible option, it -in a way- reflects this very trend. How serious are most live-in relations? Constance Rosenblum in Living Apart Together elucidates how many couples, in order to maintain a long term relationship, choose not to cohabit. So ultimately, the stress is on individuality and Dr. Kamat, finds the obstinacy of singularity an unhealthy trend. “There does come a time in one's life when you need somebody. But if you persist on being single even post late 20s, then you'll realise, later, that you've missed the bus. It'll be too late.” Namrata Kamath thus makes a prudent observation: “Adult life craves commitment.” How much of your youth must be spent in being single, thus becomes a vital question; there is only so much that you can give yourself. There are times when one will require emotional support and parents won't be there forever. As Albert Scheweitzer once said: "In everyone's life at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should be thankful for people who rekindle the inner spirit.” Friends, family, neighbours, the list really complete?

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